The NFLPA/Owners Lockout Situation
Let me say this: I understand the owners’ stance, but they’ve got to stay out of the way and stop being greedy. They’re arguing over big amounts of money, even relative to them, but at the end of the day, everyone is eating VERY WELL in the NFL. There is no such thing as a struggling team. However, here are a couple of stinging points for me:
1. Shorten the preseason to two games DEAR GOD. Guys get hurt. The Week 1 starters are so rusty because they barely touch the ball in the last preseason game and rarely at all during the rest of the preseason that it makes the first OFFICIAL game sloppy.
2. I don’t necessarily care about 18 game regular seasons. I think it’s fine as is. The NFL Player’s Association is torn on it because of the obvious potential for more injuries and shortened careers/ruined team seasons. From that standpoint, it doesn’t benefit the players to play 17 or 18 games versus the standard 16 since 1978. The owners benefit at the gate, concessions and TV-wise obviously — whereas they don’t during preseason because people (*sigh* “in this economy”) aren’t going to pay $75 to watch a meaningless game featuring scrubs who will be serving my steaks at Benihana in December. No one really wants to pay that even when the economy is great. It is hard to get up for meaningless preseason and you just hope none of your guys get hurt. Which almost never happens. Someone’s team always has someone go down every preseason without fail. And in my 25 years, I’ve had it happen to my guys a time or two. We all have and we hate it. Shorten the preseason and keep the regular season as is. PLEASE.
The owners are greedy. Most of them won’t open up their books. The Green Bay Packers, a publicly owned team in Wisconsin, has their books on public record obviously. The Packers do not struggle at the gate; never have and never will. If they, in a so-called (in baseball terms) “small market” do well, then you know teams like Dallas, both New York teams, New England, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington and Pittsburgh DEFINITELY aren’t. Nor are the Chiefs, Saints (even during Katrina they made out well — playing a home game in East Rutherford, New Jersey vs. the Giants) and Titans. Enough already. Stop being greedy and continue to share the revenue 60/40 with the players. They generate the revenue by playing and they’re not COMPLETELY expendable, disposable commodities for the team to exploit for strictly financial gain. The owners have a dozen revenue streams: starting with the lucrative TV contracts, the gate, concessions, PSLs, parking, jersey sales and many others that you would not know without checking into the books of each team. Players’ salaries barely compose 50% of what the actual REVENUE GENERATED for the top 10 teams, so why are they haggling to the point of risking a salary cap-less 2010 season and a potential lockout in 2011? The NFL cannot afford a lockout. It nearly ruined baseball, and the NBA certainly didn’t need it coming off of Jordan’s second retirement in 1998. At the absolute apex of its popularity, there is no need for this. Not that it would sink the sport to its absolute nadir as it did with the NHL, but the main sticking point is the owners’ contention that the players are getting the 61% share of revenue. They conceded in the last deal and exercised their option last May to void the deal currently in place a year early. They are tired of sharing that percentage of the revenue with the players. This is what Gene Upshaw (RIP) fought 25 years for. The players should be eternally grateful.
The owners would have it that they would get 50/50 share or even a MAJORITY of the revenue. How? Why? The players are what make the league. Even as the NFL itself is in the owners’ pockets (listen to Commissioner Roger Goodell’s statements whenever he speaks — he represents the OWNERS’ BEST INTERESTS, do not be deceived; he is not a mediator between the NFLPA and the Owners).
The NFL tries so hard to curtail celebration by players, to keep the players faceless so they don’t become marketable like NFL and (to an extent) MLB players are. No removing helmets, (basically) no celebrating in the end zone, no taunting, and that means more revenue for the owners — not the players. This also proves the esoteric point that the owners would have you believe; and that is the players come and go and therefore they should not get 60% of the revenue generated.
I wholeheartedly disagree with the owners and they need to come off the BS before we have a DISASTER in the fall of 2011.